article | July 10, 2014
What is the Secret to Successful Sales Effectiveness Initiatives?
“The culture of our organization is what will hold us back. We know what changes we need to make and the right solutions for our problems. That’s the easy part. Getting the organization to adopt them is far more difficult.”
This statement was made by the president of a large capital goods manufacturing firm. He was warning his Sales and Marketing leaders of the dangers of implementing change. The leaders were prioritizing ideas to improve the effectiveness of their operations. They were eager to see the results of new structure and processes.
The president offered sage advice to the leadership team. There’s a risk of becoming enchanted by the brilliance of new solutions. There’s a tendency to forget that solving any business problem has two dimensions. The first and most obvious one is the solution. The less apparent one is people who must adopt it. This is where Human Resources can help ensure that change initiatives are successful.
This post is for Sales and Marketing leaders and their HR business partners who are implementing change. Who isn’t? It’s nearly impossible to achieve aggressive targets by doing things the same way.
This post answers the question, “What change management measures do we need to implement to ensure adoption of new solutions?” It includes a downloadable tool to assess your readiness for successful implementation.
Making the Number Means Making Change
Sales leaders regularly face the daunting task of delivering revenue and margin growth. They recognize that they can’t just squeeze more productivity from the same processes and people. They know that to Make the Number, they must make some major changes.
Here are 3 examples that we frequently see sales and marketing leaders implementing to make a quantum leap forward:
These are all powerful ways to drive more business. But they all share the common challenge of change management. The mechanics of designing and launching any one of these programs is difficult. But what’s more difficult is ensuring adoption. Here’s what could happen:
If these scenarios sound familiar, you too have experienced a failure in change management. The solutions were well designed. Input from stakeholders created airtight requirements. The virtual training received high marks. What went wrong?
What Could Go Wrong Went Wrong
John Kotter, the acknowledged thought leader in Change Management identifies 8 characteristics required for success:
If these building blocks are missing, the chances of success are slim.
As you can see, these are all independent of the change that is being implemented. In that regard, change management is actually separate from the improvement initiative. It is also the reason that it is often forgotten. This is especially true when the solution is well engineered and attractive.
Human beings are naturally resistant to change. HR plays a significant role in sales and marketing effectiveness initiatives. By leading a structured approach to change management, the probability of success rises dramatically. The downloadable assessment is the place to start. It puts Kotter’s 8 steps in Sales & Marketing terms.
If you are embarking on a new initiative, include change management at the start.
Your chance of success is directly proportional to adoption of the solution. Learn from experts in change management. Build a solid foundation with a structured change management plan. Well-designed solutions powered by effective change management will enable you to Make the Number.